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Ailments: Information & Suggestions

 
 
 
 

About Herbs and More
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND

Herbs
These are single herbs that may be helpful for the problem. Single herbs work best when the overall energetics and properties of the herb are matched to the overall pattern of health problems in the person. It is often harder for beginners to get consistent results with singles.

Herbal Formulas
These are formulas that only contain herbal ingredients. Herbal formulas combine several herbs that deal with a particular problem which means that a well-chosen formula will often work better than a single herb because of the synergy of the ingredients. It is easier for beginners to get results with formulas. Herbal formulas also have a wide margin of safety, so you can safely double or even triple the recommended dose on the label, if necessary.
Herbal Formulas will often heal a problem, which means that they will not need to be taken forever.

Herbal Extracts
These are products that contain standardized extracts from herbs. These are different from whole herbs in that certain constituents have been isolated and concentrated. This makes them more medicine-like than whole herbs. Generally speaking they are both stronger and faster acting. However, they are often less healing and restorative than whole herbs. You may want to use an herbal extract (or a nutraceutical blend) to help you get symptoms under control, while using diet, lifestyle changes, herbs and nutrients to restore the body to normal function. Also, because they are more concentrated than whole herbs, it is generally a good idea to stick to the recommended dose found on the label.

Nutrients
These are single vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, although a few products in this category may have an herbal base or contain single nutraceutical compounds. Like single herbs, single nutrients are more targeted to specific deficiencies. Since the body does not use nutrients in isolation, single nutrients are generally best used for specific therapeutic purposes to correct specific deficiencies.
For health maintenance purposes, it is generally best to use Nutritional Supplements that contain a variety of nutrients that work synergistically together.

Nutritional Supplements
These are blends of various nutrients, such as multiple vitamin and mineral products. As the name implies they are taken to supplement the diet with extra vitamins and minerals and are products that can be used long term for health maintenance.

Nutraceuticals
The term nutraceutical is used to describe naturally occurring compounds (sometimes extracted from plants, sometimes not) that are not vitamins or minerals. Like herbal extracts, these are concentrated substances that have a more medicinal action than whole herbs or nutritional supplements. Nutraceutical blends contain nutraceutical ingredients and may also contain herbal extracts, whole herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Like herbal extracts these products are best for more rapid symptomatic relief while working on more root causes with other products and therapies. Stick to the recommended dose on the label when using nutraceutical products unless directed to do otherwise by a competent health practitioner.

Essential Oils
These are highly concentrated extracts called volatile oils that are derived from various plants. These products are used differently than all of the foregoing products in that they are seldom used internally. They are safest when used topically or inhaled. If they are used internally, they should be highly diluted and used only for short periods of time. See Aromatherapy in the Therapies Section for instructions on how to use essential oils safely.

Flower Essences
These are homeopathic-like preparations made from flowers. They are used internally (and sometimes topically) for emotional healing.

Topicals
These are products designed for topical application only. The topical category also includes personal care products like soap, toothpaste and deodorant.